Despite conservative hysteria, the world just became a much safer place
The Iran Nuclear Accord in Vienna concluded on Tuesday with an agreement between participating powers intended to act in both fostering economic development in Iran and deterring latent desire on the part of the Iranian military apparatus to obtain a nuclear weapon in light of its current stockpile.
British Foreign Secretary, Phillip Hammond, commented on the conclusion of the talks “The big prize here is that, as Iran comes out of the isolation of the last decades and is much more engaged with Western countries, Iranians hopefully begin to travel in larger numbers again, Western companies are able to invest and trade with Iran, there is an opportunity for an opening now.”
Hillary Clinton also made a statement “I think this is an important step that puts the lid on Iran’s nuclear programs […] It will enable us turn our attention, as it must, to do what we can with other partners in the region and beyond to try to prevent and contain Iran’s other bad actions.”
Iran currently has a stockpile that can produce, to quote president Obama, up to “ten nuclear weapons.“ Generally speaking this is a source for concern among conservatives and liberals alike, as long as Iran is portrayed as an irreparably corrupt and irresponsible regime.
If one considers for a moment the possibility of economic cooperation and mutual interdependence, which gives implicit legitimacy to states participating within an international system, with Iran, then the threat of war looks far more abstract and far less immediate.
Problems also persist with respect to covert or untraceable support, on the part of the Iranian power structure, of terrorist groups. If Iran were to produce a nuclear weapon or if some unintended security breach were to occur, and, if, subsequently such a weapon (or nuclear materials) were to somehow arrive in the hands of such a terrorist group, what would the implications be?
There are varied stipulations contained in the agreement, including:
I. Spent fuel from nuclear facilities to be shipped out of the country.
II. An absolute ban on the construction of heavy water facilities for at least 15 years.
III. No production of enriched uranium for an extended period.
IV. Permanent ban on the acquisition and/or production of nuclear weapons.
The accord has, as already demonstrated above in part, drawn significant heaps of criticism from many on the right side of the aisle. Lindsey Graham criticized the agreement “This is a terrible deal. It will make everything worse and I live in fear that we have set in motion a decade of chaos.”
Certainly it seems unlikely that the next decade will be defined by chaos, barring of course some kind of large war or other type of environmental catastrophe. The operative variable here, really, is the statistical probability of a war, which has, fairly evidently, gone down drastically since the talks in Vienna concluded.
Democrats should come out of this accord fairly optimistic. The Obama Administration has made it an essential part of its foreign policy to “elevate” its partnership with the Gulf states. Furthermore, moving the region into diplomatic and economic partnership and cooperation will become necessary to move things towards what the president defined as “Peaceful resolution of conflict” with Iran.